Case Study: How I Gained Links from The Guardian, Telegraph, NME & More with a 5 Minutes Post

Sometimes in life there are “eureka moments” which are a combination of perfect timing, a little luck, but most of all – it’s really how rapidly you respond which is the crucial element.That’s what has happened to me when I read the one and not so important interview with Pete Doherty in an Israeli news site. What got my attention was the following quote:

“I don’t know if I’m supposed to even tell you this, but we were offered to reform the Libertines for a show this July in Hyde Park. I got the call just yesterday.”

Now, to anyone who isn’t exactly a music geek like me, the names Pete Doherty or The Libertines may not say much and aren’t particularly exciting. However, I will present here in few lines a brief history only for the sake of reference – The Libertines have not performed since May 2010 and they’re huge in the UK (but certainly not just there). How big exactly? Big enough to fill up London’s Hyde Park, and to have their debut album appear in NME’s list of top 100 greatest albums of all times.

In addition, Pete Doherty is famous (and sometimes infamous) for his many appearances in Britain’s tabloids. His mentions are almost as numerous as Kim Kardashian’s or Beyoncé’s in the U.S.

The bottom line – I had no doubt this was big news, and there was absolutely no mention of that elsewhere, except for that one interview in a Hebrew magazine that no one was going to read anyway outside Israel. I knew the hourglass is running out and if i didn’t attack this issue immediately I would be left with nothing.

Stage One – Publishing the Post


At that time I had an active music blog called Music Charger. I didn’t do much with it and it wasn’t anything to brag about, but it was a sufficient platform to publish my news item.
As said before, all it took from me at that stage is nothing more than a 5-10 minute work: take the Hebrew quote from Ynet news site, translate it to English, and publish. That’s all. Pretty simple, right?

Truth to be told, you have to be pretty naive to believe that a post from a few months old music blog would reach anyone other than my friends or my parents, at least that’s what I thought.

Stage Two – Outreach


Which are the websites that might be interested in that? Here the answer was fairly simple. Every big or mid-size news or music publication, which had published stories about the band was likely to be interested in this subject. After all, this was a scoop, right? I mapped all those sites and made a list, focusing on the UK. And in an Excel sheet I indicated the names of the writers of those stories since it would be so much easier to contact them by mail or by sending a PM on Tweeter than taking a shot in the dark by sending a general mail to their respective publication.

This bit has actually turned out to be much easier than I expected, because I didn’t have to send too many emails. When dealing with a truly interesting material or a scoop, it takes just one or two big sites for the item to spread like wildfire. Yes, this is the truth, they all just copy from one another.

And once the first news item quotes the Israeli Ynet site as the source, they will also probably take my own English quote (because with all due respect to Google Translate, I wish to believe they would prefer a slightly more reliable source). I believe the first publication to publish the item following my citations and link was Consequence of Sound, and from there the news began to flow.

Below are several other news sites that I contacted or that have published the news item on the first day following the publication in COS, with an arrow that points to the link to my blog (almost always with dofollow links):

The Telegraph – DA 96


The Guardian – DA 98


Stereogum – DA 80


Just so you can get a perspective, below is the graph of Google Trends for The Libertines (the bands name) after the news had spread out:
google trends

Stage Three – Outreach to Get Mention Links and Handling Broken Links


Was my work finished there? Possibly, but I had an appetite for more, and a lingering feeling I hadn’t quite squeeze the lemon yet. After all, whether they had been aware of that or not, all the sites had used my translation, so why not leverage that by asking them for credit? Some even mentioned the name of my website in the credit, just failed to add a link. Below are some examples for mails that I sent:

Mind the fact that I performed the best personalization process possible in order to improve the conversion rate of my mails. At that time I didn’t have a tracking system in place to track all my emails, but I can wholeheartedly say that the conversion rate of the mails I got a response for was very high (at least 20%), and the overall number of emails that received a positive answer was also quite high (at least 10%).

In addition, there was a small number of sites that had already linked to my site, but with a broken link. Remember that I mentioned in the title of the post that I also received a link from NME? So that was a white lie. I did get a mention in NME as you can see in this item –

But the link hasn’t been fixed, up until this day in spite of the fact I did receive a response from the editor of that item. At that time I was overwhelmed by all the buzz, and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the name of my blog would be mentioned in all those sites. So it didn’t really bother me at the end of the day.


Following the post I received 26 links from 26 different referring domains:
From an unclear technical reason, and although most of these links are still live, the ahrefs shows I currently have only 9 referring domains, whereas the real number is actually three times bigger. It is important to mention that this is indeed an extreme case and not something you can immediately and systematically replicate – but I wanted to offer an additional perspective on link building, on thinking outside the box and how to exploit opportunities.

What do you think? Is there a way you think you could use this idea for your own site? Do you have any similar ideas to leverage news? I would love to see your comments.

Posted by Roy Skif

Leave a Reply